Stephon Marbury sees a problem with expensive sneakers.

NBA superstar Stephon Marbury made it big as a starting guard for the New York Knicks. But off the court, Stephon keeps the crowds cheering with his Starbury sneakers.

High-priced athletic shoes worn by basketball's biggest names are status symbols for many consumers. But because of their price tags, kids wearing them can become the targets of robbers who want to make a profit from the expensive kicks.

"You see kids that don't know any better," Stephon says. "They know that the shoes cost [a certain] amount, and it's like, 'Okay, well, I'm going to take his sneakers and I'm going to sell them.'"
Stephon Marbury's shoes are only $14.98.

With Stephon's Starbury athletic shoes—which are sold at Steve & Barry's retail stores—people can enjoy quality sneakers without paying top dollar. And Stephon even wears them on the court! "You can take my shoe and a $150 shoe and cut it down the middle, and it does the same thing. And my shoe is $14.98," he says.

Stephon understands what it's like growing up and not being able to afford expensive sneakers. "My mother always said, 'That's grocery money.'" he says. "So for me, allowing kids now to be able to go to the store and spend their money on sneakers and to be able to buy it themselves, it's a movement. We've created something that everyone across the world is benefiting from."

Through the release of Starburys, Stephon says he wanted to create change by eliminating the view of sneakers as a fashion statement. "It's moving people in the right direction, and we say it's revolutionary," he says. "It's changed their lives."
Stephon Marbury surprises some fourth-grade fans.

When Stephon heard about some special fourth graders in Brooklyn, he decided to pay them a visit. Ms. Pantuliano's class was assigned to read The Toothpaste Millionaire, a book about a sixth-grade boy who figures out a way to lower the cost of toothpaste. The story reminded them of Stephon and his Starbury shoes.

To encourage the students in their studies, Stephon stops by to listen to their book reports—but he doesn't come empty-handed. Stephon brings a New York Knicks bag filled with books for each student in the class, and each child receives a $250 gift card for a Steve & Barry's shopping spree! "I've got one more surprise," Stephon tells them. "Everybody in your class is going to go to a Knicks game!"
Stephon Marbury makes a special announcement.

After surprising Ms. Pantuliano's class, Stephon takes over the school's PA system. "I'm Stephon Marbury from the New York Knicks, and I have a big announcement today," he says. "I'm excited to come in and tell you guys that the whole school is going to have a shopping spree at Steve & Barry's. And on top of that, the whole school is coming to a Knicks game!"

For Ms. Pantuliano, Stephon's visit is about more than just fun surprises. "Their letters brought Stephon Marbury and The Oprah Winfrey Show to our little classroom in Red Hook, Brooklyn," Ms. Pantuliano says. "And to them, to know that their writing has meaning and that their words have power, I think, is a very powerful lesson—one that will carry with them forever."
Stephon Marbury talks about the reaction to his shoes.

For Stephon, seeing the reactions from children—and adults—has been the biggest reward. "One lady, I felt her soul when she hugged me," he says. "She hugged me so tight, and she was like, 'You just don't know what you've done for my family, for me, for people across the world, and for me to be able to sit here and buy a pair of sneakers, it makes me feel great to be able to spend my money.'"

Stephon says he can't explain the feeling he gets from seeing children enjoy his shoes. "Whenever I see the kids, how they respond and how the parents react when they see me, it's like a different feeling because it takes me outside of basketball," he says. "I tell people all the time, this is bigger than basketball."
FROM: Sarah Jessica Parker: Fab Without a Fortune
Published on January 01, 2006


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